Sunday, April 25, 2010

Feedback: "Favourite" World City

I thought I'd do a post designed to encourage reader feedback, seeing as I've got a large reader base of people that rarely leave comments. What is you guys' favorite world city you've been to, and favorite world city you haven't been to but hope to see soon?

Mine would have to be Saint Petersburg, Russia. Never been..really itching to go. I know I've mentioned Russia in the past and gotten some really interesting comments. So.. anyone been? (Typing the word "Russia" is surely just opening my blog up to a barrage of most-bizarre web spam..LOL)


Gadget Man said...

My favorite city I have visited is Tokyo. It is very clean, walkable, and has an excellent mass transit system. On Sunday, streets in the Ginza shopping district are closed to vehicular traffic and everybody walks.

I think of cities I have not visited I'd like to see Hong Kong.

Anonymous said...

Interesting choice with St Pete. Now that I think of it, you don't hear bout that huge arctic landmass along the east of Europe very often. Hope they don't go tryin to takeover the world again.

I imagine Petersburg isn't a "very Russian" burg even if it is their most known city. Seems like with all the shopping, churches, canals, and other non-Russian things, that it's more French or Italian.

okchomeseller said...

My favorite would have to be Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia. I got to live there for 6 months once. It's a resort island inhabited by a combination of Malays, Chinese, and Indians forming a unique culture in a British atmosphere. A lot of diversity!

For large cities, it would have to be Hong Kong.

journeytoalbania said...

Favorite Cities: tie b/w Zurich, Switzerland for their amazing rail system and history and Hong Kong for the amazing diversity of culture, architecture, and food.

#1 on my wish list is Sydney, Australia.

OKC Herbivore said...

My favorite city is still New York, it has everything I have loved about other places in one single overpowering location: neighborhoods, culture, cosmopoly, history, and innovation.

However, Piter is one of my favorites besides, and because it is such an enigmatic place. (I stayed about a block from where that photo was taken at the top o' the post).

It is not "Russian" in the sense that it is younger than Moscow, and obviously built to be European in character. However, it is very "Russian" in that it has the decay and oddity throughout that seems to be a unique Russian feel of "almost-Europe, but something else entirely." It is like something that used to be magnificent, but is now hanging on for life, but doing so in a vibrant way.

As a city, it works well along a kind of Haussmann layout of Boulevards and the canals, which create incredible streetwalls, and inject a little bit of air into a pretty dense core. The center is well kept, and dotted with amazing parks and of course, the Neva. It is very compact, easy to navigate. Nevsky Prospect is a true city boulevard, teeming at any hour, and is great for essentials, even for visitors who speak barely conversational Russian. I found a small grocer, internet cafe, bookstore (the amazing Dom Knigi), and even vegetarian restaurant (very tough in meaty Russia) all within about 10 min walk or train. It is excellent urban planning, and is vibrant in all kinds of neat ways, like the street vendors in the underground perekhodi (passageways under the streets) and the hundreds of teens and babushkas all smoking or carousing or buying snacks or pirated dvds.

Of course, get outside of the center and it turns into Beirut in the 80's, as I did several times, and the crumbling glorious facades are more reminiscent of Cairo or Delhi than Vienna or Helsinki.

Yet it is the home of Dostoevsky (my reason for even going there), survived one of the worst sieges in history (rarely told, oddly enough with 1m people dying in it), and was built on a crazy marsh in a country that cannot decide whether it wants to be connected to or constant antagonist with the West.

All that to say-it is amazing. One of the most unique places in the world.

And the metro...better than anywhere. Never have to wait for a train. Stations are lovely, and very crowded.

Walker, Downtown Ranger said...

I'm seeing a lot of Asian cities, that's interesting. Tokyo and Hong Kong being mentioned over your typical cities..London, Paris, etc. That says a lot, I think.

Thanks for the in-depth comment, Herbivore. I looked up Dom Knigi and fell in love with the place just through their website. That place does look awesome. The Haussmann comment is interesting considering how many Euro cities follow the Haussmann layout, despite that Baron Haussmann never went near them.

Shane said...

I love Oslo. It has a great mixture of old and new areas, it's a smaller European city (about the same population of OKC), it is connected to beautiful natural areas, and there is a definite feeling of progress and change on the streets since it is one of Europe's fastest growing cities. The only thing is, a quarter pounder meal from McDonald's will set you back almost $15.

I'd like to get to Japan sometime soon and see Tokyo just to see the idea of a megacity taken to the ultimate extreme.

CGHill said...

Istanbul (not Constantinople), which I got to see (some of) in 1975.